10 easy-to-make dinner recipes that will help you sleep like a baby
Looking for quality zzz at night? The solution could be hiding in your pantry! Scroll down for sleep-inducing dinner recipes that will help kick insomnia to the curb.
“You are what you eat.” If we had a penny for every time we heard this adage, we’d be lounging on a beach in Malibu throughout the year. There is, however, some wisdom to be found in this age-old proverb. So if you have been having a hard time falling to sleep at night, it might pay to retrace your steps back to the dining table and examine the contents of your dinner plate to find the culprit.
So, what is the connection between dinner and sleep? While the right foods can produce sleep-inducing hormones in the body and signal the brain that it is time to sleep, acidic and fatty foods can cause indigestion which give you a hard time at night. The difference is between drifting off to a peaceful sleep the second your head touches the pillow or tossing and turning under the sheets all night long. We know which one we’d pick, and if you’d like the former as well, here are some sleep-friendly dinner recipes that you can easily put together on your own:
Pasta With Marinara
Even if you are all thumbs in the kitchen, there’s a good chance that you have a stash of instant pasta in your pantry. Skip the preservative-laden tastemakers though in favour of making your own delicious marinara sauce. Start by sautéing onion and garlic and add in minced carrots and mushrooms for an instant dose of sleep-boosting nutrients, such as alpha carotene and vitamin D.
Taco Rice Bowls
Research has discovered that healthy sleepers favour a diverse variety on their dinner plates, and this Japanese infusion of the classic tex-mex staple is guaranteed to infuse dinnertime with a riot of colours, textures and tastes. Apart from the basics of basmati rice, sour cream and black beans, you can look at adding in protein through chicken or turkey, seasoned with low-sodium spices, for a nutrient-rich meal before you head to bed.
If you’re looking for a restful night’s sleep, turkey ought to be topping your shopping list on your next grocery run. Known to be a reliable source of tryptophan, this essential amino acid promotes good sleep as well as a good mood. Invite it to your dinner table in the form of a scrumptious deli-style wrap, oozing with honey mustard sauce and cheddar cheese. However, it helps to skip extremely spicy condiments to ensure that you don’t spend the night dealing with indigestion instead.
Your quest for foods with tryptophan will also lead you to this superfood, an all-time favourite with health junkies. If you haven’t added it to your pantry yet, consider this: quinoa is loaded with high amounts of magnesium and also helps release insulin which carries over tryptophan to the brain, resulting in a peaceful sleep at night. On those nights when you can’t be bothered with cooking elaborate recipes, simply toss together your own quinoa salad topped with walnuts.
In the quest for a peaceful night, salmon is your friend. Loaded with sleep-boosting nutrients, it also helps produce sleep hormones while the high content of protein increases satiety and keeps you full through the night — goodbye, unhealthy late night snacking! For your next dinner, you’ll want to make room for baked salmon, a low-effort recipe that just requires fresh herbs, extra virgin olive oil and garlic for a flavour-filled ride.
We now know that turkey is one of the good guys helping you battle late-night insomnia, so why not include it in your dinner in every way possible? To keep food ennui at bay, you’ll want to keep experimenting with this protein, and juicy burgers make for an excellent candidate. If you’re looking to give yours a healthy twist, you can opt to go bun-less and put it together with a lettuce wrap instead.
You’ve heard of chicken soup for the soul, so why not try its vegetarian iteration instead for a restful sleep at night? Beyond serving as a therapeutic dish for comfort after a long day of work, tomato soup is also packed with nutrients and antioxidants, such as lycopene, which is proven to help people fall asleep more easily. To achieve the perfect texture, you can choose to add in a cup of low-sodium vegetable broth.
Cereal And Milk
Everybody’s go-to breakfast for starting the day with could boast of some healthy benefits at night as well! Warm milk is known as an age-old remedy for sleep deprivation, and with good reason. Dairy is known to be rich in tryptophan which produces melatonin for inducing sleep at night. Skip the sugary options found in the supermarket aisle though, and instead opt for whole grain cereal with your bowl of warm milk at night.
Stir Fry Vegetables
Looking for the ultimate dinner idea for busy weeknights? Stir fry veggies serve as a powerhouse of nutrients that can help promote a peaceful sleep once you’re in between the sheets. Start by grabbing everything you can find in the fridge, including peas, broccoli and carrots — known source of alpha carotene — and sauté it lightly with ginger and garlic in sesame oil. Depending on whether you like your meals sweet or savoury, serve it with your sauce of choice.
There’s no going wrong with leafy greens if you’re looking for a night of quality sleep. Kale, in particular, can help guide you along your quest to break up with insomnia as it contains high amounts of calcium which is key for generating melatonin for inducing sleep. For a flavourful take on this classic staple, throw together a kale salad and serve it fresh with lemon dressing.